Carfentanil Addiction | Carfentanil Abuse In Ohio

Kimberly Langdon, M.D.

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly Langdon, M.D.

on December 6, 2022

Carfentanil is a potent fentanyl analog with no approved uses in humans. In Ohio, carfentanil may be sold as other drugs to unsuspecting buyers, which can increase the risk of fatal overdose.

Carfentanil abuse can lead to severe respiratory depression, sedation, and life-threatening opioid overdose. In Ohio, carfentanil was involved in almost one-third of all drug overdose deaths involving fentanyl.

Carfentanil is a fentanyl analog, or substance with a similar structure to fentanyl. It can be about 100 times more potent than fentanyl when comparing equivalent doses. Carfentanil may be sold as a tranquilizer for large animals, and may have no legal uses in humans.

Use of carfentanil in any form may be a form of substance abuse. Reports from Ohio law enforcement from 2016 suggest that carfentanil is readily available in Ohio. In 2021, an Akron, Ohio man pleaded guilty for distributing carfentanil and received 20 years in prison.

Carfentanil Abuse Statistics In Ohio

In 2020, carfentanil was involved in 161 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Ohio. The number of opioid overdose deaths linked to carfentanil had decreased from 508 in 2019.

However, toxicology reports and the total number of overdose deaths in 2021 are still undergoing collection as of this writing, and it’s unknown whether these statistics increased or decreased from 2020.

Carfentanil-Laced Drugs

In Ohio, carfentanil can be marketed and sold as other opioids, such as fentanyl or oxycodone. When buying these drugs on the illicit drug market, a buyer may not know they are buying a dangerous fentanyl analog or mixture containing carfentanil until they ingest it.

Carfentanil may not appear on fentanyl test strips, which can test for fentanyl in illicit drugs. 

High amounts of drug seizures from law enforcement may be a sign of high carfentanil supply in the area. Data from 2014 to 2017 suggested a link between the locations of drug trafficking operations and overdose fatalities, a trend that may continue in major Ohio cities like Columbus.

Effects Of Carfentanil Abuse

Taking carfentanil can cause serious side effects, such as:

  • sedation
  • impairment
  • severe drowsiness
  • vomiting

Risks Of Carfentanil Abuse

Taking a strong synthetic opioid like carfentanil can decrease the pleasure caused by weaker illicit or prescription opioids, such as heroin, codeine, or fentanyl. Victims of carfentanil use may become addicted to the drug without realizing it.

Opioid Use Disorder & Withdrawal

Carfentanil can cause severe opioid use disorder, which can include opioid dependence and withdrawal symptoms when trying to quit. The potency of carfentanil may also lead to serious withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid Overdose

Carfentanil is unregulated on the Ohio illicit drug market, and a fatal dose of carfentanil may be present in pills sold as fentanyl or prescription painkillers. 

Carfentanil has a high risk of overdose. Opioid overdose victims may be given naloxone to reverse life-threatening symptoms of overdose.

Treatment Options For Carfentanil Abuse

The state of Ohio considers widespread fentanyl and fentanyl analog use a public health problem, similar to illicit drugs like methamphetamine. The potency and abuse potential of these drugs may lead some to look for treatment options for drug abuse.

Treatment options for synthetic opioid addiction include medication-assisted treatment, detoxification programs, and behavioral therapy.

For information on our inpatient opiate addiction treatment programs, please contact Ohio Recovery Center today.


How Long Does Carfentanil Stay In Your System?

Carfentanil has a half-life of around 5.7-7.7 hours, and 11.8 hours for its major metabolite. This means it will remain in the human body for over a day after one use, though death frequently occurs in a far shorter period of time without prompt medical intervention.

Learn more about How Long Carfentanil Stays In Your System

How Can You Identify Carfentanil?

Identifying carfentanil can be difficult because it looks like cocaine and heroin and because it can be mixed and hidden in other illicit drugs. That said, it looks like a white or pale yellow powder or a gray cement powder-like substance.

Find out What Carfentanil Looks Like

How Much Does Carfentanil Cost On The Street?

Carfentanil can cost between $6 to $30 per gram on the street in Ohio. Carfentanil can be sold at these prices under names such as “Tango and Cash,” “China girl,” and “Apache.”

Learn more about Carfentanil Street Value

  1. Addiction Medicine — Association of Law Enforcement Seizures of Heroin, Fentanyl, and Carfentanil With Opioid Overdose Deaths in Ohio, 2014-2017
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Notes from the Field: Overdose Deaths with Carfentanil and Other Fentanyl Analogs Detected — 10 States, July 2016–June 2017
  3. Department Of Justice — Heroin and Opioid Awareness
  4. Drug Enforcement Administration — DEA Issues Carfentanil Warning To Police And Public
  5. Ohio Department of Health — Drug Overdose | Ohio Department of Health

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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